Since its inception, BOOM! Studios’ Mech Cadet Yu has been pure, concentrated joy. Writer Greg Pak, artist Takeshi Miyazawa, colorist Triona Farrell, and letterer Simon Bowland have repeatedly delivered action-packed sci-fi fun with emotional grounding that makes the fate of Earth feel personal and quantifiable rather than abstract. In issue #8, the cadets and commanding officer Skip Takaka face off against the Sharg in outer space, with their most seemingly hopeless odds yet. Plus, the question of Park’s allegiance continues to linger, and what’s going on back on Earth? Is Mech Cadet Yu #8 good?
Yu’s friendship with his fellow cadets continues to be one of the series’ most enjoyable attributes. Seeing Yu, Olivetti, and Sanchez face off against the Sharg together is heartwaming. Sure, the situation is mortally dangerous, but their resolve and their trust in one another are badass. Skip also gets a touching moment where he connects with the cadets less as a mentor and more as just another human being looking death in the face without flinching. The series’ supporting cast members also get some time to shine, particularly Yu’s mother and Chief Maxton. I’m a big fan of when adventure series starring young people also make room for parents and other adults to contribute to the cause. It creates a cool sense of different people fighting the same fight in whatever ways they can.
Visually, Mech Cadet Yu always stands out, and this issue is no exception. Miyazawa is one of my favorite artists currently in the comic business, thanks to his excellent facial expressions, rendering of movement, and fun sci-fi designs. Farrell elevates the already great line-work with fantastic coloration; their renditions of outer space are particularly gorgeous. Bowland also does a great job on lettering. There are no weak links on this series’ creative team.
I have very little negative to say about this issue. I’m getting a little tired of Park’s back-and-forth character arc, but it makes sense. Perhaps if we got a bit more page-time devoted to her internal conflicts then her portions of the narrative wouldn’t feel quite so repetitive. I also wish that the ending of this issue didn’t feel quite so rushed; a hero shows up to save the day at the very last moment and it feels a bit too convenient to be enjoyable. This is a relatively minor qualm, but with a comic this good, you have to grasp at straws a bit.
Mech Cadet Yu is one of my favorite comic books on stands right now, and issues like #8 are why. There’s next to nothing wrong here–the writing and visuals are both top-notch. My qualms are mostly just matters of wanting more, as opposed to being turned off by what is present. I wish some things in this issue got more page-time, but I love almost all of what’s here. Pak, Miyazawa, Farrell, and Bowland impress once again.